What do you hate about our plans?

elacey1909October 12, 2013

We are pretty final on these plans but is there anything that is a major goof? I know some (or most) hate the two stories but it is not negotiable with my husband, I've tried, and the oven will be bumped away from the fridge a bit more. Any other details that should be changed?

Here is a link that might be useful: 1st floor

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and 2nd floor

Here is a link that might be useful: 2nd flor

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Links don't work...sendsme to google to log in

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:39PM
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sorry! Let me try again.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:06PM
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and 2nd

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:07PM
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I don't care for your kitchen/morning room layout at all. I would not buy a resale with that configuration. It's plain awkward.

I think a big miss is not having the bathroom between the den and study as a full bath.

HATE the toilet in the laundry room. Again would not buy a house with that layout.

Master is SO big but the closet space and bath are on the small side. I would rework that area.

Do you have a front elevation? I'm having a hard time picturing the garage roofline.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 4:37PM
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First, I'd add a closet in the entry (or at least a bench with hooks) and make the hall closet (by bath) a linen closet. Agree with making this a full bath (shower at least) in case you need to have downstairs bedroom/guest room, in the future.

I don't like the toilet in the laundry, either. Try to rework that and add a powder room. I'd move the pantry, too. It's in an awkward spot and makes for a lot of extra steps, between range and clean up sink.

The breakfast area...there's no room for a table. Maybe make the island shorter so you have room for a table or banquette.

Have you tried adding furniture to your plan? Make sure your dimensions are correct and see if you have left over areas or not enough space in others. I think that will help you find other problem areas. Such as...the dining room looks long and the entrance is not opposite the den. That would bother me.

And, all these 'open to below' areas upstairs...you're losing potential 'book nook' area for kids and better placement of bedroom closet (over entry) and the partial 'two story' great room seems off. Either open it all or think about a game room, for kids. Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 5:25PM
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I will have to look at some things again.

The house sits on a large pond so I was trying to prevent kids from having to run through the house to use the bathroom when they are wet and grassy. But, maybe I will rethink that one and pull it out of there.

The "breakfast area" is just a combo with the kitchen, not really a breakfast nook. The words need removed. I have no intentions of putting a table in there. We will have stools at the island and hopefully actually use the dinning room. Is the kitchen still a strange layout with that clarification? I will post it on the kitchen forum.

And the two stories is a lost battle. My husband is set on those.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 6:14PM
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here is the front of the house. We have to have a front facing garage because of the pond.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 6:42PM
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If you have to have a "clip on" garage, switch to a hip roof and run windows across to maintain symmetry. The roof gables are off-centre and add nothing.

Both the layout and elevation could use professional design assistance.

A combination toilet/laundry room is a new one on me.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Like others I wouldn't want a toilet in the laundry room, and yours is right in front of the door!

It's a long way from the kitchen to the dining room. Can't imagine carrying a turkey or other food all that way. I'd try switching the kitchen and morning room to get the kitchen closer to the DR (unless you never really plan to use the DR, in which case I'd make it something else.)

Not sure if/where you plan to have a TV in the great room, but if it's viewable from the catwalk looking over the GR then it will be hard to watch movies, etc. without waking the kids (or tempting them to sneak to the railing to watch without you knowing.) I hope your builder knows how to set up the HVAC to properly heat and cool the two stories; you need fans or returns or something.

BR 4 looks small - it's not much bigger than the master bath. Might be hard to fit much in there so as mentioned previously make sure you see how your furniture placement will work (draw it in to scale.) Makes all the open space seem that much more wasteful.

I'd see if the builder can do some 3D renderings of the inside. I'm trying to imagine the 2 story foyer where most of the second story is the walls of the two bedrooms. Seems like it would feel a bit like an elevator shaft. I'd use that space for WIC for BR 2 and 3, then slide the hall bath down to make BR 4 a bit bigger. Or if you want a higher ceiling in the foyer, I'd make it just 3 feet higher and use the space above for reading nooks for BR 2 and 3. Or one big nook accessible from the hall. If you must have a 2 story foyer, you might want your light fixture to have a lift so you can lower it to change light bulbs and clean it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:20PM
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I don't think there is a general consensus against two-story homes on this forum. Some of us LOVE our two story homes and would not have a one-story house if you tried to give it to us. There are lots of good reasons to go that route. What you will often see on this forum is a recommendation that if one chooses to build a two-story house, that one also plan for the possibility that a family member may become unable to climb the stairs either temporarily or permanently. So you will almost always see suggestions that there be a full bathroom downstairs plus a bedroom or a room that could be converted into a bedroom if necessary. Alternatively, you could do like I did and install an elevator so that the second floor is fully accessible even to someone wheelchair bound.

The things I dislike about your current plan have nothing to do with it being a two-story design.

What size is the lot you're building on? When you mentioned a large pond, I visualized country acreage but your plan seems more appropriate for a narrow suburban lot where the next door neighbor's house is 6 to 12 ft away from your outer walls. If you have some distance between you and neighbors to the side, I'd want some windows on the left side to bring additional natural light into the study, den, bedroom 4 and bedroom 3. You won't believe how much more pleasant a room is when it gets light from two directions.

And, you mentioned that the garage cannot be a sideload because of the pond so that suggests that the pond is off to the right of the house. If so, I would think that your best views are in that direction. Yet you have almost no windows on the right hand side of the house to take advantage of the pond views.

I do like that you're trying for a classic exterior style. What you have looks vaguely Goergian or Adams Federal although the huge snout-nosed garage rather detracts from the attempt. Where exactly is that pond? Would it be possible to pull entire kitchen and garage back some so that the garage doesn't stick forward quite so much? Or, have you considered flipping the entire design to move the garage away from the pond and be able get pond views from more of the main rooms of the house?

I would lose those two upper front gables. They are totally unnecessary, will be expensive to build, will result in a roof slightly more prone to future leak problems (every valley in a roof is a weak spot) and they do absolutely NOTHING positive for the look of the house. If you had attic rooms, then dormers in those areas would be appropriate - but the eaves miss the mark.

Now the interior -

I have to agree that your kitchen is exceptionally awkward. The entire space on the back side of the island is pretty much wasted. If you don't intend to have a table in the morning room space, what do you plan to put there? Anything at all? It is a bit too close to the great room to justify a small seating area...plus, with that exterior door in the middle of the kitchen, you have to account for foot traffic through there. And the space to the right of the exterior kitchen door and down to the island is totally wasted.

You've got acres of countertop around the edge of kitchen but your fridge, stove, and prep sink are crammed so close together that you will likely wind up doing 99% of your prep on the 3-5 feet of space on the island directly to the right of the prep sink.

And, although you say you hope the family will eat most meals in the dining room, my guess is that they won't. The dining room is just too far from the kitchen to carry dishes back and forth every single day. More likely, if you have stools at the island, your family will wind up eating most meals there. But, because of the shape of the island, you'll all be perched side by side like birds on a high wire....which means the seating will NOT be conducive to family conversation. For family conversation, an island that is shorter but wide enough for two people to sit on one end while two or three sit on the back side is a much better choice. And such an island would also fit the shape of your kitchen much better.

I am not a huge fan of two story foyers especially where, as here, the upper space is confined between two bedroom walls so that you're basically just creating an echo chamber. If you got rid of the two story foyer, you could do so much more with your second floor. Right now you're trying to squeeze all the secondary bedrooms into the spaces left over around the two-story rooms below. So, once you carve out necessary closet space, the two bedrooms on the left are rather small for such a large house overall.

I also don't like that you've got a humongous entry hall...and yet there is no place in it where you could carve out room for a closet or even stand an armoire to serve as a substitute. If you're building in a hot dry climate where folks seldom wear coats not having an entry closet is acceptable. Otherwise, you need one. And that closet tucked around the corner way up by the staircase is too far away to serve the purpose. By the way, I suspect that you may be forced to have a supporting column where you plan to have the staircase newel post that will be closet to the front door. Upstairs over that point, you show the hallway floor jutting out halfway across the foyer space. The piece of flooring has to be supported somehow. Right now, if I read your drawings right, it is just kind of hanging over the open staircase below.

Also, the way the hallway twists upstairs, it is going to be a bit of a PITA to move furniture into bedroom #4.

Next, unless you plan to hold dance parties or recitals in your master bedroom, it is WAY too big. A nice large MBR can be lovely but yours is bigger than your great room and staircase combined! Even a king-sized bed is going to look lost in there. Meanwhile, your master closet is relatively small and, for a big house, your masterbath seems downright scrunched in. Or maybe it just looks small in comparison to the gigantic MBR. I would shrink the master by at least 25%. You could cut a 7 ft wide closet off from the entire left side of the room and still have a huge master bedroom. The second closet would also serve to block some of the noise that will flow from that two story great room into the master bedroom.

I also notice that you don't have a single window in the masterbath and, for me, natural light while putting on makeup is a must. I can live with no windows in a secondary bathroom but no windows in a master bath screams poor planning. If nothing else, you can flip the bath left/right so that the vanity is up against the closet wall. That would allow you to put a window between the toilet and the linen closet.

Most laundry is generated near the bedrooms and bathrooms, and clean laundry is typically stored mostly in bedroom closets. For many of us with two story homes then, it makes more sense to have the laundry room up near the bedrooms than down near the kitchen. Especially since most women now work outside the home, spend much less time in the kitchen than our mothers did. Don't know about you but I often wind up doing laundry by starting a load washing right before going to bed at night and then tossing it into the dryer to dry while I'm getting ready for work in the mornings. In our old 2 story house, the bane of my existence was the laundry room that was downstairs near the kitchen. It seemed like I was constantly toting tons of clothing up and down the stairs. My new home has the laundry upstairs and I absolutely LOVE it.

True, some people do still choose to keep the laundry downstairs because they decide that they would rather have it near them when they're cooking even though it means lugging tons of clothing up and down the stairs. Did you make that decision or did you just put the laundry downstairs by the garage because that is where washing machines were typically stuck back in the old days without even thinking about it.

If you closed up that two-story foyer, maybe you could use some of that space for an upstairs laundry?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 12:16PM
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We have 7 acres that is wooded for the front 5 acres and was pasture in the back. The pond will wrap around the house from the back side to the front along the kitchen/garage. We will build a large deck off the back of the house and hopefully have a great outdoor living area outside of the two patio doors.

The side of the house with no windows will be pretty close to the fence row and would look right into the neighbors horse pasture and the back of their house. This side of the house would not be visible because of the trees and it would not have a good view either. I am okay with that side not having windows.

I do wish there was a better entry closet, you are right with that one. I do plan to have hooks and a bench in the entry for guests and our family will use the mud room/laundry room closet for coats.

I will try to bring up the open entry debate again with my husband as I do see the potential of the space upstairs. He loves the open feelings of the house with the two story areas but I will try agin.

I will include a picture of the original kitchen design to see if I should go back to it. I do see the point of the family not really talking if we are all lined up in a row eating. I want us to use the kitchen eating area more often the dining room but it just seems excessive to have three eating areas in one house. Having only two areas and one actual dinning room table was my goal with the long island but maybe there is a better way.

The island was original a curved island toward the sink. I can't find the very original layout.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Pond = screened porch? Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 2:43PM
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I do not understand why you are having your kitchen door open from that side. I'd reverse the door swing. I assume it was a thought that a BBQ might be out there, and you'd want easy access, but, do you want everyone coming inside from outside stepping into your kitchen?

Also, I'd change your location of Bedrm #2's bathroom's linen closet and sink.

You might consider changing the "direction" of your kitchen island, and making it less narrow. See how that fits your space/style.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 3:58PM
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I was reading about the swing of the patio doors on another post and I think that will be a good idea to have outswing patio doors. Or are you saying to move the location of the door?

I originally had the island a feet deeper but the designer talked me out of that for cost but maybe I should go back to it. Would moving the prep sink make any difference?

I think we will shrink down the master bedroom like you have said to gain some space in the bathroom/closet area. Maybe put a hallway closet where the wall is now and bump the great room/master wall in about 5'.

Good ideas from all. Even if we decide to not make the changes it at least makes us think through the reasons for the designs in the first place?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 4:40PM
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We have a laundry room on the first floor and no bedrooms on the first floor. I can't tell you how many times I have cursed this plan .... but not enough to lose the cedar closet on the second floor and move the laundry up there. That would be a project to retrofit.

If I were building a house from scratch, and all my bedrooms were on the second floor, that is where my laundry room would be. If you leave it where it is currently designed to be, you too will end up cursing the placement.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 6:08PM
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Your land sounds lovely. But, if I had 7 acres with a pond, to the maximum extent that I could manage it, ALL of my major rooms would be be along the sides of the house that faced the pond so that I could have pond views. And, all of my major rooms would be placed so they could have windows on at least two sides.

I'm sorry but while some men may disagree, a GARAGE is not a "major room" in the house. We don't care about the views from the garage...so it gets stuck where-ever is most convenient for the sake of the house. Not the other way around. So, there is no way that I would ever put the garage on the pond side of the house! It would go over next to the neighbor's fence row where I don't want any windows anyway!

And if at all possible, I would make the garage a side load garage, even if I had to have my side parking pad go practically right up to the neighbor's fence line. I'd go as close as I was legally allowed to go. Setback lines usually allow driveways and parking pads to be within the set back lines where you are not allowed to build otherwise. Do check. I think you could have a much much better house if the garage were on the left near the neighbor's fence line instead of sitting smack dab between most of the living spaces of the house and the pond.

Maybe you could post a picture of your acreage taken from the air and we could suggest alternative footprints for you. You can probably get an image by doing a screen capture from google maps. Then use Paint to draw in your lot lines and set back lines.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:11PM
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"I don't think there is a general consensus against two-story homes on this forum."

I could be wrong, but I think the OP is probably referring to the two-story rooms designated as "open to below" on her plan and not to two-story houses.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 1:12AM
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I don't personally like the cooktop being so far away from the fridge and sink....... it looks kind of lonely there all by itself.

The toilet in the laundry room would be a deal breaker for me if I was looking to buy this house.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 11:34AM
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I agree with Bevangel....move that garage if you can!! That is one of the blessings of acerage...your garage need not dominate your facade!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 11:50AM
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I agree about posting your property map. With so much land, why have a 'builder special' type home? One or two stories...why not have porches or more indoor/outdoor living?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:12PM
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I tried the google map but it does not show the pond in the picture. I could draw a picture but that would probably be the best option. Having the garage be a side load I do not think is an option because we would not be able to make the turn because of the pond banks and fence line. I will make sure to check on this again though just to make sure it is not a possibility.

I would have never though the toilet in the laundry room would be such a big deal actually. I was just trying to save myself some cleaning time from muddy wet kids who will use the garage entrance most of the time. My in-laws have a toilet in the laundry room which is right inside the garage and it is handy. I think she was the one who told me to make sure I had one in there but I will think about it again. Actually, we use their laundry room toilet all the time but have never once put our coats in their entry closet, funny!

We will add a large porch off the back of the house that will be as close to the pond as possible but that will be done after the home is built and we can pay cash for it.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 1:12PM
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I like that you have a toilet in that location. It's very convenient, just not very private. I also think you could move the pantry over and have a much better kitchen layout. Added the banquette to give you a little seating area and to give some separation from the great room. You could use a half wall, if you like.

Also made a change to the other bathroom...added a shower, as suggested above. And the front windows...just an idea. Have you thought about one, larger window for each room? Since they only get light on one side, it might be nice. And, you could add a window seat, if you wanted...especially in the dining room or bedrooms.

Also, the upstairs bothers me! It's not the two story space...it's that it's only over part of the great room. What if you get rid of the two story entry in exchange for a much better great room space? What about something like this? From Kitchen plans From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 15:16

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:02PM
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I agree with many of the suggestions, especially lavender_lass's mudroom organization. However, I had a couple ideas that I think could really improve your plan if feasible.

Is there something forcing you to have the garage located on the right side of the plan? It seems like such a waste with views of the pond being blocked by a garage. If land to the left of the house is undesirable, why not flip everything around?

What I've done is reverse the plan, so the kitchen and garage are on the left and the den and great room are on the right. Instead of having the great room in the center of the house, maybe it would be better to have it in the corner to maximize views of the pond. There would be much more natural light this way, and it also would shift the traffic flow from going right through the living area. The flip also would give your husband views of the pond from his den.

In a previous post you mentioned entertaining was important to you, and I feel like your current layout just doesn't have good flow. Although I don't know about your events, I do know that the the kitchen ends up being the center of activity in the homes of many. Having a centralized kitchen would greatly improve the functionality of your design.

I'm not really a big fan of walking right in and seeing the staircase, but for a secondary entry not often used, I don't think it would be an issue. Having the dining close to the kitchen would make it so much more useful... the distance between the current kitchen and dining room is quite a stretch.

Hope this helps!

This post was edited by nicke360 on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 23:31

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Nicke, as usual, I like your solutions.
But, I'd be hard-pressed to advocate for a design with the cooktop in the island... I'd personally rearrange all of the kitchen appliances in your plan.

OP--what I meant about door swing was that, I would swing it from left to right, rather than right to left. Have it open against the counter rather than walking into the counter. Does that make sense?

Of course, Nicke's plan solves that dilemma.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 1:25AM
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Nicke360 this is something for us to seriously consider!!!! Thanks a million!!!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:02AM
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I am also not a huge fan of having a range in the island but if all the other issues are solved with the house I would be fine with it. Any other suggestions on the kitchen layout?

I honestly have to say I am beyond grateful and impressed with everyones comments and creativity to see the little things.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Nicke, what a thoughtful thing for you to do!

I love the plan you came up with too! :)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Nicke- Having windows on two side of the great room will provide such nice light and views!

The kitchen seems a little small, but I think it's the pantry access. While it's great to have a large pantry, it divides up the room so there's only a few feet of prep space in many areas, rather than a lot of prep space in a few areas.

I don't hate the cooktop on island, but that takes up prep space, too.

One other thing...the bathrooms (especially main floor) are very small. I became painfully aware of this, when my husband got sick and ended up in a wheelchair for a while. We never expected this and thankfully one of the bathrooms was large enough to remodel...without having to move any walls. Now, I try to encourage people to plan for the unexpected and have a little larger bathroom, especially in new construction.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Could the dining area also have pond views? I love, love that my dr faces the back yard, with woods beyond, and my parents' dr faces their pond. Even in winter, at least you might start dinner while it's still light enough to enjoy the view.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Bpathome- Good idea! What about sliding dining room back, moving kitchen to the left...and putting study/bathroom, where the dining room is, now? That would give you the bathroom close to the kitchen, study and mudroom. Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Well the "study room" will be the kids play room and later transition to a homework/computer/lounging room for them. I don't imagine this will be a very tidy area so having it at the front of the home would cause me major cleaning stress.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Just because it's in the front, doesn't mean the door has to be. You could access it from the other side. I'd draw it out, but I can't use the Paint program with Nicke's design. (I think Photobucket is not compatible with Paint/Picasa.)

If you had (front to back) study, short hall with bathroom, then dining room...that might work. Short hall could give bathroom access to study and also be close to kitchen and mudroom, but bathroom would not be open to dining room.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Nicke's plan is great! Flows SO much better. I'd love to see the elevation drawings.

I too don't like the cooktop in the island though nor the fact that all your kitchen countertops are cut up into tiny pieces giving you no large uninterrupted area to work. Since the dining room is quite a bit longer than most dining rooms, I'm wondering if it would work to do this:

First, pull the front of the main house forward by about 2 feet (making the dining room, den, foyer and bedrooms 2 and 3 each 2 ft longer and adding about 75 sq ft total to your footprint.)

Now, use about 5.5-6 ft ft of space between the kitchen and dining room to create both a storage pantry AND a butler's panty/staging area between the kitchen and dining room. Between pulling the front of the house forward and taking in that two foot space where Nicke's plan puts two short runs of cabinet, the dining room would end up being about 1.5 to 2 ft shorter or about 16.5 to 17 feet long. That is still a nice big dining room. Plenty big enough for a table expanded to seat 8 or 10. The butler's pantry would give you a staging area when you're serving meals in the dining room and a place to store serving platters and things you don't use all that often.

More importantly, moving the pantry would allow you to wrap the kitchen cabinetry around the corner where the pantry door was before thus giving you room for the range on the perimeter counter top instead of on the island.

I would then make the island about 6 to 12 inches shorter and move one bar stool to the end so that four people sitting there would not all be lined up like pigeons. While I normally prefer a high/low island to help hide the clutter in my kitchen, in this case I'd recommend that the island be all the same height (counter-top high) because that would give you a nice large uninterrupted work surface.

Moving the pantry would also allow that downstairs bathroom to expand backward so you could have an exterior door into that bathroom. That would make it very easy for wet muddy kids to use a bathroom without having to track through the rest of the house.

Pulling the front of the house forward by a couple of feet also gives you more space between your front door and the first step of your staircase and allows for a wider doorway into the dining room. Like Nicke, I'm not a fan of opening the front door and seeing a staircase right in front of me but front foyer staircases were practically always found in 2 story Federal style houses so you're in good company. And, if you have 6 or 7 feet between the front door and the bottom of the staircase, the staircase doesn't feel quite so "in your face."

Next, since a study doesn't HAVE to have a closet, I would also use the current study closet to make the bathroom larger. If you're kids are going to be using the study as their play room and homework/lounging room, that bathroom is going to get a lot of use. If you flip the laundry room so that it's closet it up against the study wall and the washer/dryer are against the garage, then if at some point you or a future owner decide you want that study to become a bedroom, it would be easy and relatively inexpensive to switch the location of the closet doors. Or, you could even have doors on both sides of the closet if you wanted to. Then it could serve both the study and the laundry room at the same time.

I've used Paint to alter Nicke's sketch to show you what I mean.

Depending on where you are building, you also may still need a foyer closet of some sort. But, if you won't have a basement, you could tuck a closet under the stairs. Or, if you will have a basement, since the den is now rather large, you could cut a small closet out of the corner between great room and den.

The only other change I would make is that I would NOT put two sets of patio doors in the great room. If you are going to have a deck, put in one set of patio doors to lead out to the deck and use windows in place of the other set. Windows are a whole lot cheaper than patio doors and having only one set of doors will also make it a lot easier to arrange furniture in the great room.

Also, while I love the idea of the entertainment center and display shelves between the den and great room, depending on how you entertain, you might want double doors between the two room that could be opened to make the den and great room into one big area.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 3:05PM
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Oh wow, that looks great! It solves some of the concerns I had. This is turning out to be an awesome plan!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Just a bit more information of general lifestyle. We are building in very rural Indiana so we will have all extremes of weather. A coat closet would be a great bonus.

We are planning on putting a basement under the house that would be unfinished. Hopefully the pond would not make this a problem.

Again, I have to say I am very grateful for all the suggestions. My brain is just not able to move walls and imagine the possibilities. I am thoroughly impressed!!!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Central Indiana? Yes, you definitely need closets!

I really doubt DH seriously needs a den that is 13-5 ft x 18-9. That's bigger than many living rooms! And with today's flat screen TV's, an entertainment niche is seldom really necessary either. So I'd get rid of the inset entertainment niche and then take a 5ft strip out between the great room and the den to put in closets.... a 5x7 walk in closet opening to the hallway and then use the rest of the strip for two small reach-in closets (set back to back) for the den and the great room. Every room has some storage needs and that would give you closet space in every room. And DH's den would still be about 13 x 14 which is a very nice size for an office/den. Plenty big enough for a nice desk and a comfortable chair or two or a leather couch plus some bookcases.

Sorry, I don't know squat about basements. Nobody builds them in my area. I do know the adage "water seeks it's own level," and that water can flow THROUGH what seems like solid ground. So, I would guess that the surface level of a pond often indicates the the level of the surrounding water table...especially in an area where the ground is reasonably permeable. I would definitely want the floor of my basement (and my footers for that matter) to be well ABOVE the surface level of the pond.

You mentioned that your land was once pasturage. Is the pond a natural pond or a man-made "stock pond"? And, if it doesn't show up on google maps, are you sure it is a permanent pond? When I go to google maps, I can clearly see my 8ft x 10 ft storage building in the photos so I'm surprised that a large pond would not be visible regardless of how long ago the image was taken. Have you owned the land long enough to know that the pond is a true pond and not merely a shallow wetland that will dry up completely during the first reasonably prolonged dry spell? Not that that makes any difference as far as digging a basement goes...and wetlands can be just as pretty as a true pond.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 6:01PM
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I think I will add closets out of the den space. I'm sure he will resist at first but pulling out a tape measure helps out with convincing the space that is there. We will increase the garage space by two feet each direction also to allow for our vehicles.

We dug the pond out last spring so it is a man made pond that we will stock with fish. It has held water all year but will not reach its highest level until we dig a well and pump it. The neighboring tiles are at the water level now so we rerouted it. If the basement guys have doubts we will ditch the basement. The house is plenty big but a basement would just be an added storage bonus and kid hang out area when they are teens.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 6:59PM
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The key to a dry basement is adequate drainage, good gutters and downspouts, and a system of drain tile/sump pump. I live in a flood-prone area, so I've had some experience. With reasonable precautions during construction, the pond should not cause any problems.

I've never lived in a house without a basement (MN and ND).

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:19PM
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It's great to see you're considering the designs! I've been working on a couple more ideas that I'll post soon. What part of Indiana are you in? I'm from Bloomington but I go to Ball State in Muncie.

If you're unsure of the basement, I'd find out before making any more decisions. If you end up not being able to have a basement, that's at least 20k you can put somewhere else in your build.

Another question: now that the garage is on the right, is it necessary that the doors open up front? If you have the opportunity to have a side load, go for it.

I've been thinking about the elevations too. Are you going with brick all the way around like the plans show? Did you work with the builder to create that elevation? It's not awful if you're into builder grade chic, but there's a lot I'd do differently. When you've got a rectangular plan, you've got a blank canvas you can apply virtually any style to. What exactly are you going for?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Really like nicke360's design, but I think it's kind of narrow access to the family room. Could it open up a bit there, and maybe a door from the study for flow? I just don't like dead-end rooms :)

The bathroom for bedroom 2 has a teensy vanity. Girls need space, and boys, too, for the shaving gear!

Maybe an outside door for the laundry room? When we are puttering around outside, we don't always want to go all the way through the garage to wash up.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:05PM
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We are more than considering, we are probably throwing out the original plans all together and rolling with what has been drawn up from this site. It has been a whirlwind of a day since we have been staring at these plans for over a year but I can totally see the benefit.

I would like a little more bathroom space for my girls room in bedroom 2 but I think it is doable.

We are actually building about 30 min. east of Muncie a couple miles from the Ohio line. Small world!

The house will be all brick and my father-in-law is a bricklayer who will be doing the job. We worked with a lumber yard who drew up all the plans and passed them on to the builder so they were the ones who drew up the elevations. We are open for all ideas!

I don't think we will be able to make the turn to have a side loading garage but it is worth exploring and seeing how many trees we would have to lose. Now the drive curves toward the pond and back around to the clearing for the house. We would have to clear out a large area of trees to be able to even come close to having a side load and it would be tight.

We appreciate all the time that is being spent for complete strangers!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:21PM
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elacey, one of the things I love most about this site is the way one person's idea sparks another, and another, and I can hardly wait to see what someone has suggested next!

I admire you for your willingness to start from scratch, after working very hard to come up with your original plans. I think you are going to end up with a truly fantastic home!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:40PM
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Bedroom #2's bathroom looks small as drawn but, if I'm reading the dimensions correctly, it meets the minimum dimension requirements for a full bath.

DH and I shared a bathroom for 25 years in our old house that was that size. It wasn't luxurious but it worked okay for the two of us (my hair curlers, his shaver, our electric toothbrushes, both of our stores of pills/vitamins/ deoderants/special shampoos, etc. I can't imagine that one child couldn't manage in the same space.

Since it is an ensuite bathroom for one person, you might replace the swing-in bathroom door with a pocket door. I doubt she'll bother to close it 99% of the time anyway so why have the door swing taking up some of the available space. Stick an over the toilet wall cabinet up for storage and it'll be fine.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:34AM
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nicke360 I emailed you back but I am not sure it will go throw with just a simple "reply".

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Haven't gotten anything, maybe try again? nmentrekin@gmail.com

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:00AM
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okay tried that one.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Totally understand you going offline to work with NickE. He's good! But don't leave the rest of us out of the loop entirely. I do want to see what he comes up with for you... including elevations.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Oh I won't. I haven't seen anything new from him today but I am excited to see what comes.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:02PM
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